There's a lot for your kids to get excited about during the holidays; the fun decorations, a break from school, spending time with family, the music, the magical stories, and of course – unwrapping presents! The best thing of all might be all the fun, delicious holiday treats they get to eat. But if your child has braces, indulging in some traditional snacks could damage the brackets and wires on their teeth, resulting in costly repairs and delaying their treatment. Luckily, that doesn't mean your child has to miss out on any holiday fun. We have some fun holiday treats you can give your kids to make them smile and keep their spirits bright.
Fun Holiday Treats For Kids With Braces
Before we get to the fun stuff, allow us to say "bah humbug!" to some sweets your child should avoid. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children with braces avoid hard, chewy, sticky, and crunchy treats, like:
- Jelly beans
- Hard pretzels
These are just a few examples of the treats that can bend or even break your child's metal brackets. Use your best judgment, and if you decide a treat isn't sticky, chewy, or hard, chances are it's probably fine.
Now for the good stuff! Here are some festive treat ideas you can make for, or with, your child that will be safe for their braces.
To make a sweet treat that looks just like Santa, all you need is strawberries, whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles!
- Slice off the large stem-side of a strawberry so it can stand upright on a plate.
- Cut off the top quarter of the strawberry (this will be Santa's hat.)
- Put a dollop of whipped cream on the large strawberry to make his face.
- Add two chocolate sprinkles for the eyes. The round confetti-style sprinkles work best.
- Place the strawberry hat onto the whipped cream and dab some cream on the very top of the strawberry to give his hat the iconic white ball at the end.
- Continue making more Santas until you have enough for the whole family to enjoy!
Where would Santa be without his reindeer? Stuck at the North Pole with no way to deliver his gifts, probably. Luckily, with some soft cheese triangles, a yellow bell pepper, some olives, and cherry tomatoes, you can ensure Santa can travel with his reindeer to spread Christmas cheer.
- Place a soft cheese triangle on a plate. The narrow point will make the reindeer nose.
- Cut strips of yellow bell pepper and push them into the wide "head" of the soft cheese triangle.
- Dice an olive and use two small pieces to make the reindeer's eyes
- Cut a cherry tomato in half and use it to make Rudolph's nose.
Snowmen are more delicious when they're made out of marshmallows. All you need for this holly jolly treat is marshmallows (obviously), some white chocolate candy coating, chocolate chips, a carrot, and a straw or a wooden skewer.
- Melt the white chocolate candy coating in the microwave.
- Push your skewer or straw through three marshmallows to make up the body of your snowman.
- Dip the marshmallows in the candy coating.
- Before the white chocolate sets, press chocolate chips into the top marshmallow to make the snowman's eyes.
- Cut off a tiny piece of carrot for his nose – but be sure the carrot isn't too big that it could damage a braces bracket.
Christmas Tree Brownie Lollipops
Most lollipops are not safe for your child's braces – but it's a different story if they're made with brownies that look like Christmas trees! All you need to make these treats are your favorite brownie recipe, green frosting, and colored sprinkles.
- Make your favorite brownies and cut them into triangles.
- Spread green frosting on them so they look like trees.
- Use colored sprinkles for ornaments.
- Push a brightly colored, stiff straw into one edge of the triangle. Snip off the end of the straw to form your lollipop stick.
Strawberry Banana Candy Cane
Candy canes are likely to damage braces, but if you make them out of soft, fresh fruit, your child is in the clear!
- Make 1/2 inch slices of banana.
- Make 1/2 slices of strawberries.
- Place them on a plate, alternating between fruits, and make them into a cane shape.
- Serve to your child, and any of the leftover pieces can be a treat for you!
Practicing Good Oral Hygiene With Braces
After your child eats their holiday treats (or any meal), it's important they practice good oral hygiene. Encourage your child to:
- First, rinse with water.
- Start brushing at the gumline at a 45-degree angle. We recommend a brush designed for braces.
- Next, have them place the toothbrush on top of the brackets, angling down to brush on top of each bracket.
- Then, they can angle the toothbrush up toward the bottom of each bracket.
- A floss threader, water flossers, and antimicrobial mouthrinses are other helpful tools your child can use to maintain a level of oral health that will make you both smile.
Learn more about how to clean teeth with braces.
Even when kids understand the long-term benefits of having straight teeth, it can be challenging during the holiday season when they can't eat the same treats their friends enjoy. By offering your child delicious, fun alternatives, their holiday season can be as merry and bright (and delicious) as anyone else's. And they'll receive a bonus gift for their efforts – a lifetime of straight, pearly white teeth!
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.